Over the last couple of years, Nvidia has given us two devices under its SHIELD brand that are distinctly different. The first was a game controller with an integrated display. The second was a more traditional tablet form factor. This week, the company added another device to its SHIELD line. Again, it’s like no other SHIELD device that we’ve seen before.
This time, Nvidia is targeting console gamers. This SHIELD device is Nvidia’s first device aimed at the living room and is basically a set-top box similar to the Roku or Apple TV, but Nvidia says it’s 35 times more powerful than your average set-top box. Priced at just $200 and launching in May, it utilizes Nvidia’s Tegra X1 processor, boasts 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, is 4K Ultra-HD ready (thanks to the Tegra X1), and supports HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, MicroUSB, storage expansion via MicroSD, Bluetooth 4.1, and Gigabit Ethernet.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a SHIELD device if it didn’t run Android, and therein lies the most intriguing aspect of this member of the SHIELD family: the whole thing is based on Android TV. Not only is this Nvidia’s first product for the living room, it’s also the world’s first Android TV games console.
With a little help from Nvidia’s own GRID game streaming service, users will be able to play games like Batman: Arkham Origins, GRID 2, Metro: Last Light Redux, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. The company also promises access to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, War Thunder, Doom 2: BFG Edition, Resident Evil 5, Crysis 3, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, as well as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
This is just the second Android TV device we’ve seen since the platforms unveiling at Google I/O last year. The only other device is the Nexus Player, which is made by Google itself. Over the next few months, we should see more companies introduce products based on Google’s smart TV-focused version of Lollipop. They’ll likely be cheaper than the SHIELD, but none will offer quite the same experience for gamers, and SHIELD has Tegra X1 powering its 4K content.